Some time back I wrote about knowledge which is not part of existing workflows. Now I’m struggling with finding more fine-grained distinctions.
First, a few of related categories:
- Stephen Covey‘s classification of tasks into an urgent/important matrix: important things do not have to be time-sensitive in a short-term (=it’s important to do something about one’s professional development, but it’s not necessary to work on it today).
- Hot / warm / cold information in personal information management studies (I remember seeing it in Documents at Hand: Learning from Paper to Improve Digital Technologies, but can’t check right now if the authors referred to another source regarding it). It indicates the degree of need for a piece of information (e.g. document) in relation to a task performed right now.
- Filing and piling strategies (e.g. here) in respect to organising/archiving pieces of information, where piling often means “I may want to access it later, but don’t know where exactly I should put it”.
Now, the dimensions regarding knowledge/information that I consider important:
- Relevancy: it’s relevant – I don’t know – irrelevant
- Time-sensitivity: I need it now – as soon as possible – when I do so and so – one day soon – one day
- Ability to categorise: it’s belongs to a task/project – theme – “I feel it’s important, but I don’t know where it belongs”
Hmm, I thought that by writing it down things will become more clear, but it doesn’t work that way :))). Another try, now in a matrix:
May be relevant
Things that fit
I need them and I know what do to with them
Things that don’t fit
If I only knew if/why I need them I would know what to do with them
Things that don’t fit
I need them, but I don’t know what to do with them
Things that don’t fit (OR I don’t know things*)
I don’t want to let them go because they may be relevant, but I have no idea what to do with them
*This comes from a frequent expression of my husband, who would often suggest to buy “I don’t know juice” or to eat in “I don’t know restaurant” when I’m sure that I want something, but not sure what and how…
The reason I want to bring it in is simple:
- it’s things that don’t fit that make knowledge work so complicated and so full of unexpected discoveries
- we often don’t have good tools to deal with things that don’t fit, either because those require definite judgement on how far those are relevant and/or ability to process them in a useful way
Examples of things that do not fit:
- coffee-table rumour from a colleague about management decision that affects the project I work in
- an article which is interesting, but I don’t have a place to cite it right now
- all those enterprise 2.0 blog posts that pop-up in my RSS reader
- an article about new English language standards for the pilots of international flights that gives examples of plane incidents that happened due to lack of shared understanding
Tags: citedCh3, GTD, knowledge representations
Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2006/07/24.html#a1804; comments are here.